TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 8, 2015) – A bill prefiled in the Kansas House represents an important first step toward limiting the influence of the federal government in the Sunflower State and could open the door to stopping a wide range of federal programs.

Rep. J. R. Claeys (R – Salina) prefiled House Bill 2437 (HB2437) on Oct. 6. The simple piece of legislation would require state legislative approval before any state agency could enter into any agreement that would require state resources.

No state agency, state agent or state employee shall enter into any agreement, including, but not   limited to, cost-sharing agreements and grants, which obligates the state of Kansas to any explicit or implied maintenance of effort requirements without the express prior consent of the Kansas legislature.

“Maintenance of effort” includes the expenditure of state funds, and any actions taken by the state, including regulatory action.

If passed, HB2437 would have huge implications on how state agencies interact with the feds, basically requiring legislative review of most federal programs.

Because so many federal programs require state action and funding, passage of HB2437 would set the stage to drastically limit federal power over the state. Of course, the legislature would need to maintain its fortitude and deny requests to enter into such agreements, but the legislation would at least take decision-making out of the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats, and put the process in the public spotlight.

Virtually any agreement between a state agency and the federal government that you can imagine requires some kind of state maintenance effort and would therefore fall under the rubric of this proposed law.

For instance, if HB2437 passed into law, it would necessitate legislative approval before a state or local law enforcement agency could request military equipment under the Department of Defense 1033 program, or buy such equipment with federal grant money, because it requires state funds to maintain it once acquired.

The law would also require state departments such as education, environmental protection and agriculture to get legislative approval before accepting federal funding that has regulatory strings attached. For instance, it would ensure the state Department of Education couldn’t implement programs such as Common Core without approval of the legislature.

This legislative tool would allow the legislature to nix a wide range of state/federal partnerships that hang obtrusive federal regulations around the necks of Kansans. HB2437 would essentially serve as a mechanism to nullify many federal programs in effect in Kansas.

Once formally introduced, the legislation will be assigned to a committee for further consideration.

Mike Maharrey